Fugitive captured 28 years after escaping from prison

by Deanna Durante

A man who escaped from a New Jersey prison 28 years ago is headed back to jail.

He was captured by authorities at home Wednesday, but not before one last attempt to elude arrest.

75-year-old Maximo Jurado said his name was Juan when officers from several law enforcement agencies arrived at his Philadelphia home around 10 a.m.

A few minutes later, when shown a prison photo of himself from 1979, he confessed:

"It's me."

Investigators who made the arrest said they were honored the capture happened on their watch.

They said it's a case that goes to show no matter how long a fugitive may be on the run, time is eventually going to run out.

"I swear to God I don't know nothing. That's why I was shocked," said a woman who said she didn't know about her boyfriends past.

Special investigators with the New Jersey Department of Corrections Fugitive Unit said they've spent years getting to know Jurado, who left the state's since-closed Marlboro Camp in central New Jersey.

He had served less than four months of a three-to 10-year prison sentence for a drug offense before escaping in September 1979.

Jurado was not an especially notorious criminal -- though he had several run-ins with the law in the 1960s and 1970s -- and his escape didn't get much attention at the time.

He managed to stay on the lam longer than all but a few people who have escaped from New Jersey prisons.

Authorities say they tracked him through several states and aliases before catching up with him.

"He's been all over -- Jersey, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, back to Jersey, into Pennsylvania," said Dan Klotz, a special investigator with the fugitive unit.

Investigators said he's smarter than the average criminal.

"He was methodical in the way he moved. He was very careful. He wouldn't use his original name. He would always have fictitious Social Security numbers and birth dates and everything," Klotz said.

But the investigators said Jurado made a mistake.

"He so happened to trip up on a couple of things when he tried to hide. But it came out. Investigator Klotz found it," said Ellis Allen, of the fugitive unit.

Investigators said once they tracked him, they moved in certain he was inside his girlfriend's North Philadelphia row home.

His car was parked outside.

At first, Jurado denied who he was. But once he realized there was no way out, "He acknowledged, 'Yes, I am Maximino,'" Klotz said.

Why risk a life on the run, possible capture and longer prison sentence on a break out?

"I asked him, 'Why'd you leave? Why'd you escape?' And he told me, 'It was for a woman. She wouldn't wait for me, so I had to go after her.' I said, 'Well, where is she now?' He said, 'She left me 20 years ago,'" Klotz said, recounting their conversation.

Jurado is being held in Philadelphia until he can have an extradition hearing to be sent back to New Jersey.

Investigators said it would be up to the Monmouth County prosecutor's office to determine how much longer he should spend in prison.

His sentence will likely be extended, perhaps by five years, and he'll likely lose some of the privileges most everyday prisoners have.

He'll also likely be confined to solitary confinement once he's back in a New Jersey prison.